THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is known for it’s bubbly atmosphere, pictoresque sights, and always something going on. If you’d like to spend your digital nomad journey in Amsterdam amongst the relaxed Dutch, then read on to find out more about the city and its best tips for digital nomads!
Where is it & why should you go?
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, and is quite centrally located, with an airport right outside the door. The picturesque canals, rich parks and friendly vibe will make you feel right at home.
What is the weather like?
Mostly dreadful, to be honest. If you like rain and generally unpredictable weather, this is the place for you. Temperatures range from 0 degrees celcius on cold winter days to +30 on hot summer days.
The best thing about Amsterdam is:
It is absolutely brimming with cool cafés to work from, and there’s always something cool going on… whether they be rooftop movies or food truck festivals. It’s a very lively place with an addictive atmosphere.
The worst thing about Amsterdam is:
I personally find the city center to be a bit manic. It’s always full of massive groups of tourists, loud trams and the smell of weed. If you leave the tourist center, you’ll find it can be lovely and calm. I’ve heard it’s hard to make real friendships with Dutch people though, as they apparently are quite private.
Is English spoken?
Yes, widely. And they probably speak better English than you ;-)
Is Amsterdam safe?
Generally, yes. There is some pick pocketing in public transport and you want to avoid certain areas at night, but nothing too different from other major European cities. Keep your wits about you: be careful when crossing roads (those pesky cyclists) and be conservative when it comes to drugs (only buy it from respectable places, know your limits, and use it in a safe place – a.k.a.: not next to canals you can drown in). In general Amsterdam is a very safe place.
Best areas to live in?
My favourite areas in Amsterdam are De Pijp en De Jordaan. Both are quite central, close to the canals and they are full of life (shops & cafes). Oud-Zuid is for the wealthier amongst us, and Noord is upcoming and hipster (also cheaper!). In general all central areas have their charm.
My favourite café’s to work from:
Filter – A relaxed café with amazing breakfast.
Scandinavian Embassy – Minimalistic. Fantastic coffee.
Hutspot – Awesome concept store with multiple locations. Inspiring place to work.
Vinnies – A favourite for brunch. Fun place for people watching.
Back to Black – Cozy, classy and relaxed. Could’ve stayed there all day.
Great co-working spaces:
Volkshotel – The lobby of Volkshotel is made for people to work from. Rock up for free, sit down at one of the long tables and build an empire.
The Thinking Hut – I’ve only ever been here for a workshop, but I loved the space, and it’s green surroundings.
WeWork – I tend to choose cafes over coworking spots, but my friends in London all love WeWork, so I’m sure their location in Amsterdam must be fabulous too. Desks cost €350 a month and up.
Spaces – Has multiple locations in Amsterdam. Quite a professional vibe. Tends to be a favourite amongst the business professionals in my crowd. From €250 a month.
Other favourite hotspots:
Bar Boca’s – One of my favourite lunch places in Amsterdam. This bar offers mini sandwiches, making food way more fun and experimental. Plus you get to order more and not feel guilty :)
Hilton Skylounge – My secret to pleasing tourists: take them here! Coffees are expensive (but do come with a free refill!), but the views are priceless.
Mint Amsterdam – The Nine Streets are amazing for shopping, and Mint is one of my favourite places (and not just because it’s one of my favourite colors). It has amazing home decoration.
Het Begijnhof – Behind a dark door you’ll find Begijnhof, a little peace and quiet, that very few tourists are aware of. It’s picturesque, with it’s beautiful houses and green. It stems from the Middle Ages and used to house nuns.
Rijksmuseum – Easily the most impressive museum of the lot, and Amsterdam has some great museums. I especially enjoyed the modern layout, the gorgeous garden and the beautiful Rembrandt exhibit.
What is the internet like in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is a great city for internet. You’ll have to search hard to find a cafe without wifi, and the internet speed tends to be quite good.
Do you need a car to get around?
No! Parking is super expensive in Amsterdam, the city has great public transport, is easy to get across by bike, and is well connected to other cities in the country and the airport. Also, you’ll have to have a brave soul if you’re willing to park paralel next to a canal. That’s not me.
UTRECHT – Easily one of the prettiest cities in the Netherlands, and highly underrated. Also has the canals and historic city centre, lacks the drunk tourists. Has a high population of students, making the city very vibrant and lively.
ROTTERDAM – Though by far not as pretty as Amsterdam (can’t blame them, the whole city was devastatingly bombed in the WW2), the vibe there is infinitely cooler. No pretending here, you are what you are. All the coolest restaurants, shops and start ups are starting here.
VOLENDAM – A touristy classic, but a must do if you’re into the whole ‘traditional Dutch’ thing. Volendam is a traditional fishers town which for some inexplicable reason breeds about 40% of all Dutch singers. Ignore the busloads of tourists and you’ll have fun.
RENT: €500 (rooms) – €1500-2000 for studios and appartments
STREET FOOD: €2 (and up)
RESTAURANT: €20 (main course + drink)
ALCOHOL: €4 for beer, €5-6 for wine and €10 for cocktails
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Get a public transport card. You pay per distance, with rates as low as €0,70 per tram ride.
ACTIVITIES: €10-18 for museums, €9-15 for bicycle hire for a day, €14 for one hour canal cruise
HOTELS: €20 for a dorm bed in a hostel, €80 and up for hotels
Recommended hotels & hostels:
I personally really love the quirky Volkshotel & the super hip Ecomama hostel.
Facebookgroups for Digital Nomads in Amsterdam:
This one is mostly for expats, but digital nomads are welcome to. They also have a meet up group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/expatrepublic Ps: I also have a Facebookgroup for digital nomads :-)!!!
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Would you like to contribute a city for this article? Email me! info [at] explorista [dot] net.